San Jose, Calif. - Dan Addiego scored his first collegiate goal at the 6:25 mark and the defense made it hold up in another shutout performance as the San Jose State University men's soccer team posted a fifth straight victory, 1-0, over Mountain Pacific Sports Federation rival United States Air Force Academy at Spartan Stadium on Sunday afternoon, October 18.
San Jose State, now unbeaten over its last six matches, moves its overall record up above the .500 mark at 7-6-1, and remains perfect at 2-0 in the MPSF. The team is 5-0-1 during the current stretch, with five shutouts, and is an undefeated 5-0-1 inside Spartan Stadium in 2009. Air Force drops to an even 5-5-1 overall and a winless 0-2 in league play.
The Spartans jumped on the visiting Falcons early, with a pair of opportunities in quick succession from the right flank that resulted in a shot and a header by Ricky Dorrego and Colby Moore, respectively, both of which sailed high over the crossbar.
Six minutes in, San Jose State earned the first of its eight corner kicks on the afternoon, from the left side. Dorrego, whose previous three assists this season had all come from corner-kick feeds, hit it toward the center of the penalty area, where Moore chested it back out to the left side of the box. Addiego was there to slot his shot into the lower left corner for what turned out to be the lone score of the match, at 6:25. The assists were a team-leading fourth on the year for Dorrego, and first for Moore, who led the MPSF in that category as a junior in 2008.
Air Force came close to equalizing just over eight minutes later. Kevin Rosser, a San Jose product and former teammate of Moore's at nearby Bellarmine College Prep, sent a free kick into the box from the left side that was headed from point-blank range by fellow senior Steven Noller, but sophomore Spartan goalkeeper Jonathan Lester dove to his left to make the save.
The Falcons then briefly thought they had knotted the score in the 17th minute, but the goal was disallowed for offsides. Senior forward Josh Rhynard's shot from the right side of the penalty area was deflected down, with Rosser turning home the loose ball from in close, but the senior midfielder was judged to have been ahead of the final Spartan defender at the time of his shot.
The second half was largely void of offensive soccer, with the first shot attempt not coming until the 72:48 mark, when Air Force's sophomore midfielder Ben Chavez provided a meek long-distance effort on the ground that travelled harmlessly into Lester's waiting arms.
Just moments before, the ball had actually wound up in the back of the Spartan net a second time on the day, into the left corner courtesy of senior midfielder Jared Gomez, but the match referee's whistle had already blown for a foul by sophomore forward Garrett Getschow on senior Spartan co-captain Oscar Monjaras on the right side of the area.
With approximately 16 minutes left to play in regulation, San Jose State dodged another bullet, with freshman center back Nick Murphy, who has played every minute of every game thus far on the year, coming up big. A clearance attempt deflected fortuitously for Air Force, right onto the path of Rhynard streaking onto goal. Murphy timed his tackle perfectly as Rhynard wound up for the close-range, right-footed shot from the right edge, and dodged any penalty call.
The action near goal picked up late, with Addiego coming close to providing the all-important insurance at 81:05, his hard left-footed shot from the right wing being saved out to a corner kick on the near side by freshman Falcon goalkeeper Mike Mauro.
The final 10 minutes saw a flurry of activity by Robert Jackson of San Jose State, as the redshirt sophomore left-sided midfielder wound up with a single-game career-best four shots during that span, with a career-best two attempts on target to generate difficult Mauro saves. The first three of them all led directly to corner kicks for the Spartans. On one of those, Jackson took a nice feed from freshman back-up striker Dylan Murphy, the younger brother of Nick, made a sleak cut move with his right foot near the top of the box, and lifted a left-footed shot that Mauro turned away. Finally, at 86:34, Addiego floated a great cross from the right that dipped right over the final Falcon defender, but Jackson's right-footed volley was directed straight at Mauro.
The drama still was not complete, however, until the horn. With the final seconds ticking away, Chavez and Lester converged on a loose ball near the top of the Spartan penalty area on the left side, with Chavez somehow flicking the ball free and on toward the end-line. He reached the ball just before it went out, and sent a shot that may or may not have been headed into the empty net, but Monjaras charged over to clear into the bleachers as time ran out.
The result ultimately marked a third successive win by the Spartans over the Falcons, each by the final score of 1-0, and was a fourth straight one-goal triumph for San Jose State overall, after the team had dropped five decisions in a row by that margin to open this campaign.
San Jose State out-shot Air Force on the day, 11-10, led by Jackson's game-high four. Chavez paced the Falcons with three attempts, two on goal.
Lester completed the 90 minutes with three saves, notching his sixth individual clean sheet of 2009. Mauro matched him with three stops of his own.
The Spartans hit the road next weekend, travelling to play first-year MPSF member schools Cal State Bakersfield on Friday night, October 23, and Seattle University on Sunday, October 25.
Air Force (5-5-1, 0-2 MPSF) - 0 0 - 0
San Jose State (7-6-1, 2-0 MPSF) - 1 0 - 1
SJSU - Dan Addiego (1) (Colby Moore, Ricky Dorrego), 6:25
AF - 10
SJSU - 11
AF - 3 (Mike Mauro-3)
SJSU - 4 (Jonathan Lester-3; Team-1)
AF - 1
SJSU - 8
AF - 14
SJSU - 12